AN: Hey everyone. Not much action in this chapter, but a bit of a set up. Let me know your opinion on which way you'd prefer me to steer this. I have a bit of a plan, but if my readers are happier with a certain course, then so be it. Enjoy Chapter 3. Read, Review, and thank you! -Brittanie
AN: So, it was brought to my attention that I made a mistake. Joffery is dead. Tommen is king. Thanks to Oberon Sexton for pointing that out. Also, I am keeping Tyrion as Hand.
It had been two months since Jon Snow arrived back in Winterfell as Lord Jon Stark. The repairs had come along quite nicely once a band of Wildings arrived to help with the manpower. While the holdfast did not look exactly like it did before Theon put the it to the torch, no one could deny the feeling of grandeur that pervaded the air.
The walls were a light gray again, lending no thought to their former charred state. Bricks were replaced and reinforced. Banners were sewn anew and furniture remade and strengthened. The biggest improvement was that of the new main gate. Behind the old, rebuilt gate, Jon had instructed the masons to build another wall with second gate made of steel encased by wood. They called it the false gate in jape, but what it was really was reassurance.
In addition to all of the structural improvements, a monument was ordered in remembrance of his father, Lady Catelyn, Robb, Bran, and Rickon, along with the names of all the citizens of Winterfell that had died in the burning. A pang shot through Jon's heart as he ran his fingers over the uncarved spot he had left open if news of his half sisters' deaths was brought to him.
The new maester of Winterfell had arrived the night before, a young blonde man the had seen a few more name days than Jon. Maester Sventin brought with him a new set of ravens, along with books to replace those that had been lost.
Today was the day the people would move back into Winterfell and Jon would have to take up residence in the master bedroom with Val. It felt like betrayal to Jon. To take root in his father's chambers with a Wildling woman and a boy not of Stark blood, but Jon did not voice his opinion to anyone, especially not Melisandre.
Melisandre had overseen the construction of a pyre pit on the outskirts of Winterfell. To her, the holdfast needed a permanent place where residents could purify and pray and where Jon could send the criminal to be punished. Baptism by fire, she called it. It was just as absurd in Jon's mind as the Drowned God of the Iron Islands.
He gripped Longclaw as Jon ascended the newly forged stone steps to the balcony the oversaw the training yard. He was met with flashbacks of him and Robb being scolded by Ser Rodrick for treating their swords like toys and not like instruments of death. He remembered him and Robb attempting to teach Bran archery, with their father and Lady Catelyn looking on. He remembered Sansa doing needlepoint and sending biting remarks in Jon's directions and Arya begging to be included in the boy's play. All the memories seemed to belong to another person. A bastard.
"Lord Stark?" Jon turned around to be met with Maester Sventin holding a piece of paper in his thin fingers.
"A letter, milord, from Kings Landing." Sventin held it out to Jon. The seal was a crimson red, freshly broken, pressed onto a thick parchment. The contents made him shutter as he read it.
"Dear Jon Snow,
It has come to the attention of the Small Council that you have taken up residence in Winterfell under the name of Jon Stark. A bastard has no claim over lands unless legitimized by royal decree.
Stannis Baratheon is not the true king nor will he ever be.
You are to report to King's Landing within a month to swear fealty to King Tommen Baratheon, the true King of the Andals and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm.
If you do so, you will receive Winterfell as Jon Stark and we shall provide you with a noble wife, not the Wildling Stannis Baratheon has forced upon you, along with the placement of citizens of King's Landing to aid in Winterfell's repopulation.
If you refuse, an detachment of the newly formed Royal Army will march upon Winterfell by the end of two months.
Be wise and heed our orders.
The Hand of the King, Tyrion Lannister and Cersei Lannister, Queen Regent of the Seven Kingdoms."